fbpx

Trump Verdict: First U.S. President Convicted of a Crime

Former President Donald Trump gives brief remarks alongside his attorney Todd Blanche after the conclusion of his hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 30, 2024 in New York City | Image by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump gives brief remarks alongside his attorney Todd Blanche after the conclusion of his hush money trial at Manhattan Criminal Court on May 30, 2024 in New York City | Image by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

Former President Donald Trump’s conviction on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records represents the first time in United States history a person who’s served as president has ever been found guilty of a crime.

The case centered on payments Trump made to his then-attorney Michael Cohen to reimburse the lawyer for paying off porn star Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about a sexual affair she had with Trump. Prosecutors argued that the falsification of records amounted to an effort to mislead the American people by covering up a sex scandal that may have otherwise threatened his 2016 presidential campaign.

Trump vowed to appeal the verdict, proclaiming, “This is long from over,” just after his conviction, per The New York Times. The former president has maintained that the charges brought against him are a means of “political interference.”

Central to the conviction is the allegation that Trump and his legal team falsified financial records to obscure payment of “hush money” to the adult actress.

Daniels claims she had consensual sexual interactions with Trump in 2006, an allegation he has consistently denied. She says that Trump’s former attorney, Cohen, paid her $130,000 to honor the terms of a nondisclosure agreement she previously had agreed to.

Cohen pleaded guilty to lying to the Internal Revenue Service about income that totaled about $4 million, including payments made to the former attorney by Trump. The lawyer was disbarred in 2019 over his business practices. Trump’s defense argued that Cohen could not be trusted as he had previously pleaded guilty to lying.

Trump’s conviction over “hush money” contrasts with the more than $1 million spent by the Clinton campaign in 2016 in service of the since-discredited dossier by former British spy Christopher Steele that led to investigations into whether Trump had colluded with Russia during the 2016 election. Some of the same government officials that went on to declare the Hunter Biden laptop discovery as “Russian disinformation” were also responsible for disclosing the Steele document that was not meant for public release, as reported by The Dallas Express. 

Judge Juan M. Merchan released Trump on his own recognizance. The former president’s sentencing is set for July 11, shortly before the Republican National Convention is to convene and name him the Party’s presidential nominee.

Polling by NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist suggests that Trump’s conviction is unlikely to sway voters in the general election, with 67% saying a guilty verdict would make no difference in their vote and 76% saying the same about a not guilty verdict.

Trump faces several other court cases stemming from allegations about his role in the January 6 events at the U.S. Capitol and about election interference. He is also charged with mishandling documents found at the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, as DX reported.

Conversely, investigators declined to prosecute President Joe Biden in a similar case pertaining to improper storage of federal documents, saying it would be difficult to get a jury to convict “a sympathetic, wellmeaning, elderly man with a poor memory” who did not intend to commit a crime.

Support our non-profit journalism

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Continue reading on the app
Expand article